United States authorities demand Cuba extradites political refugee Assata Shakur

This video from the USA says about itself:

Assata Shakur in Her Own Words: Rare Recording of Activist Named to FBI Most Wanted Terrorist List

3 May 2013

The FBI has added the former Black Panther Assata Shakur to its Most Wanted Terrorist List 40 years after the killing for which she was convicted. Born Joanne Chesimard, Shakur was found guilty of shooting dead a New Jersey state trooper during a gunfight in 1973. Shakur has long proclaimed her innocence and accused federal authorities of political persecution.

She escaped from prison in 1979 and received political asylum in Cuba. On Thursday, she became the first woman added to the FBI’s terrorist list and the reward for her capture was doubled to $2 million. We begin our coverage by airing Shakur’s reading of an open letter she wrote to Pope John Paul II during his trip to Cuba in 1998 after the FBI asked him to urge her extradition. “As a result of being targeted by [the FBI program] COINTELPRO, I was faced with the threat of prison, underground, exile or death,” Shakur said at the time. “I am not the first, nor the last, person to be victimized by the New Jersey system of ‘justice.’ The New Jersey State Police are infamous for their racism and brutality.”

Transcript of this video is here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Angela Davis and Assata Shakur’s Lawyer Denounce FBI’s Adding of Exiled Activist to Terrorist List

3 May 2013

One day after the exiled former Black Panther Assata Shakur became the first woman named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List, we’re joined by another legendary African-American activist, Angela Davis, as well as Shakur’s longtime attorney, Lennox Hinds.

Davis, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the subject of the recent film, “Free Angela & All Political Prisoners.” She argues that the FBI’s latest move, much like its initial targeting of Shakur and other Black Panthers four decades ago, is politically motivated. “It seems to me that this act incorporates or reflects the very logic of terrorism,” Davis says. “I can’t help but think that it’s designed to frighten people who are involved in struggles today. Forty years ago seems like it was a long time ago. In the beginning of the 21st century, we’re still fighting around the very same issues — police violence, health care, education, people in prison.”

A professor of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, Hinds has represented Shakur since 1973. “This is a political act pushed by the state of New Jersey, by some members of Congress from Miami, and with the intent of putting pressure on the Cuban government and to inflame public opinion,” Hinds says. “There is no way to appeal someone being put on the terrorist list.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Call for refugee’s extraditon threatens flights to Havana

Saturday 24th October 2015

AUTHORITIES in New Jersey are opposing airline flights to Cuba until a high-profile US refugee has been extradited.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey chairman John Degnan urged United Airlines on Thursday to postpone the launch of services from Newark airport to Cuba.

Mr Degnan’s intervention came the day after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican presidential hopeful, wrote to him asking for support.

The two want former Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur extradited from Cuba to the US.

Ms Shakur, who describes herself as “20th-century escaped slave,” was jailed in 1977 for the murder of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster in a 1973 shoot-out.

This was despite defence testimony that she had been shot twice with her arms raised and had her right arm paralysed.

Ms Shakur escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba in 1984, where she was granted political asylum.

#BlackLivesMatter and street art in Baltimore, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

29 April. 2015

SHOCKING VIDEO: Joseph Kent, a 21-year-old Morgan State student and civil rights activist, was telling demonstrators to disperse Tuesday night after the 10 p.m. curfew as a line of police officers stood by in riot gear.

Baltimore protester’s creepy arrest on live TV prompts concerns of ‘blackbag kidnapping’. CNN was broadcasting live when a National Guard armored car drove directly toward Kent and some of the officers pushed him behind the Humvee, which drove off.

Protester with his hands up arrested by police in Baltimore

The camera followed the armored vehicle, leaving many to conclude Kent had been shoved inside.

Shocking Video broadcast live by CNN shows a prominent Baltimore activist being kidnapped off the street by five National Guard troops as an armored vehicle shields the scene from cameras.

“They ran out and grabbed him … and then arrested him,” reported CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

Kent gained attention during protests in Baltimore over the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The music student was credited in some reports as helping to keep protests peaceful and organized.

Baltimore police could not be reached for comment on Kent’s arrest.

A local attorney said Kent had apparently been booked into jail but was not among those who will be presented for bail on Wednesday.

By Priscilla Frank in the USA, with photos there:

Baltimore Students Team Up For #BlackLivesMatter Street Art Takeover

06/25/2015 11:59 am EDT

In 2011, street artist JR made a call to art and a call to action — a call he hoped would reach people around the world. “I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project,” he said. “And together, we’ll turn the world inside out.”

“Inside Out” is the name of the project, which challenges people around the globe to share their portrait and a message they believe in. Thus far, the project has attracted over 200,000 people from 112 countries, from Ecuador to Nepal to Palestine. Issues addressed range from climate change to gender-based violence, all communicated through the simple yet striking image of a large, black-and-white pasted portrait.

Now, the students of Morgan State University’s Visual Arts Department are taking a hint from JR and collaborating, along with Computer Graphics II and Computers in Art Design professor Chris Metzger, on an “Inside Out” Group Action project, a visual response to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.

For me, Black Lives Matter — way before it became this social media movement, before it became a hashtag — it’s always been a part of my work,” artist Sheldon Scott explained in a previous interview with The Huffington Post. “We’ve been saying these things for years about … mistreatment and injustices.”

From June 17 to June 19, students teamed up to take on the facade of the future home of Open Works in Baltimore City, a space meant to serve as an incubator for Baltimore‘s creative economy.

“Research shows that Baltimore City ranks 100th out of 100 cities nationally in terms of income mobility,” program manager Will Holman explained in a statement. “We view Open Works as a ladder for youth, unemployed, and underemployed workers looking for better opportunities.” The facility will offer advanced tools and technologies for ordinary citizens, transforming Baltimore into a grounds for burgeoning tech and art scenes.

“These facilities, such as TechShop, FabLab and other homegrown maker spaces, are emerging as a new kind of civic institution, similar to schools or libraries,” BARCO Managing Director, Mac MacLure added. “Maker communities are springing up around the world as places that inspire and teach, provide access to tools and mentorship, and connect individuals with financing and customers.”

Given its potential for the creative and economic future of Baltimore, Open Works is an ideal canvas for the young faces of Baltimore’s artists and activists. The project comes at as an apt a time as ever, following the horrific events of last week’s shooting in Charleston, in which 21-year-old white gunman Dylann Roof murdered nine individuals at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a Bible study meeting.

The only reason someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said at a news conference following the massacre. “It is the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine.”

In the wake of such tragedy, projects like “Inside Out” restore some sense of hope. The strong faces of the men and women of Baltimore’s “Inside Out” installation emanate a sense of strength, togetherness and peaceful defiance.

Bobolink bird news from New Jersey, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

This video celebrates the amazing song of the Bobolink, described by one author as “a mad, wreckless song fantasia—an outbreak of pentup irrepressible glee,” and by another as “a bubbling delirium of ecstatic music that flows from the gifted throat of the bird like sparkling champagne.”

The Bobolink is a member of the Blackbird family. It frequents grassy meadows of the northern states and adjacent Canada. Also referred to as “skunk blackbird,” the male has striking black-and-white plumage, making identification easy. Females are a buffy yellow-brown.

© 2010 Lang Elliott & Bob McGuire

From The Meadowlands Nature Blog in the USA:

Bobolinks Thrive at Bergen County’s No-Mow Zone

“Since the 1900s, bobolink populations in the northeast have been declining- with a 75% decrease occurring in the past 40 years according to the Breeding Bird Survey. Bobolinks are a grassland bird and a ground nester. The loss of North American grasslands and modern farming practices, that call for the harvest of the hayfields during nesting season, have led to their waning numbers. But creating No-Mow zones, like those at Overpeck County Park, is one way that we in suburban New Jersey can help.”

This according to DonTorino, whose column Don’s Jersey Birding appears weekly in Wild New Jersey. Read the full article here.

Good red knot news from New Jersey

This video from the USA says about itself:

Staff writer Abigail Tucker recounts the scene of a beach littered with horseshoe crabs and a sky filled with red knots. Read more here.

From the Conserve Wildlife Blog in New Jersey, USA:

19,077 Red Knots Counted – The Most Seen in New Jersey in a Decade

May 25th, 2015

An Update on the 2015 Delaware Bay Shorebird Project

By: Dr. Larry Niles, LJ Niles Associates LLC

Despite the threatening forecast of a cold drizzle and strong winds, our team persevered to complete the first bay-wide count of this season. On the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay, we counted 19,077 red knots – the most seen in the state in a decade. With Delaware’s shorebird team recording 2,000 knots along their entire shoreline, the total knot count of 21,077 is not far from the 24,000 seasonal maximum of the last three years.

This is good news in either of two completely different ways. One explanation is that perhaps most of the knots have already come to the bay. If so, they are in good time to make weight and are getting close to an on-time departure for the Arctic. The alternative is that even more will arrive and we will exceed our counts of the recent past. Good weights promise good Arctic production; more knots offer new hope.

The numbers of ruddy turnstones (12,295) and semipalmated sandpipers (56,788) are also close to the seasonal maxima counts of the recent past, so they too may soon brave the long flight to their Arctic homes. Our cannon-net catches of turnstones, sanderlings and knots point to weights building quickly.

But the real shorebird wonderland of the bay continues to be Egg Island. Few people see this this vast intertidal marsh, and fewer still appreciate its wonder. Egg Island – actually a peninsula – juts miles out into the bay, nearly to the shipping channel. The marsh cradles one of the most diverse bird faunas of the mid-Atlantic. All along its mucky eastern flank, short-billed dowitchers, dunlin, semipalmated sandpipers, black-bellied plovers, and semipalmated plovers comb the eroded banks for crab eggs drifting in the water column from better crab breeding sites. The crabs themselves attempt to breed in the overhanging edges of the spartina marsh, a lost cause; however, because the muck lacks oxygen and the eggs cannot develop. This is bad for crabs but good for shorebirds because most of the eggs end up on the sod banks, easy prey for shorebirds.

But this week, the wonders of Egg Island overwhelmed us. Our team – Humphrey Sitters, Phillipa Sitters and this blog’s author – wove along the shallow shoreline in our intrepid 17-ft Carolina skiff, counting thousands of shorebirds – 8,226 knots, 4,125 ruddy turnstones, 3,000 sanderlings, and 21,000 semipalmated sandpipers. The flocks swirled around the peninsula’s sandy western shore, alighting, then flying, and then alighting again. It was a shorebird dance that was a wonderful sight for increasingly tired-out shorebird scientists.

Michael Brown killed, ‘no federal prosecution’

This video from New Jersey in the USA says about itself:

Jerame Reid Shooting – Police SHOOT MAN WITH HANDS UP

21 January 2015

JERAME REID SHOOTING Dash cam footage released by the Bridgeton Police Department Tuesday shows Jerame Reid being shot and killed as he exited a car pulled over by Bridgeton police officers, an incident that has sparked some Ferguson-esque backlash against the police departme[nt].

Video shows black man shot dead by officer as he steps out of car with hands raised: here. See also here.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Report: No federal charges against Ferguson, Missouri cop who killed Michael Brown

22 January 2015

The US Justice Department will not bring federal civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri police officer responsible for the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August, the New York Times reported Wednesday evening.

The Times reported, “The investigation by the FBI, which is complete, found no evidence to support civil rights charges against the officer,” based on the claims of unnamed officials.

The Times added, “The Justice Department plans to release a report explaining its decision,” probably “in the next month or two.” The decision, according to the report, would “close the politically charged case.”

The report in the Times, a semi-official outlet of the American state, all but constitutes an official statement by the White House that it is not pursuing charges against Wilson. …

Throughout the grand jury proceedings that concluded in November, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert P. McCulloch worked to ensure that no charges would be filed, painting Brown as the aggressor and coddling Wilson, who was invited to testify for four hours before other witnesses were heard. Last month, McCulloch publicly admitted that he knowingly used perjured testimony in the grand jury proceedings, after journalists identified one of the witnesses as a mentally disturbed racist with a history of providing false testimony.

“The fact that the original hearing was a fraud makes the dropping of federal charges against Wilson all the more egregious,” said John Burton, a police misconduct lawyer in Los Angeles County.

“The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from excessive force—such as being shot—during an arrest.” said Burton. “The civil rights division of the Justice Department theoretically exists to ensure that state and local authorities do not violate the civil rights of citizens. Michael Brown’s civil rights were clearly violated.”

Officers responsible for the 1992 beating of Rodney King, who were initially acquitted by a jury, were found guilty of violating King’s civil rights by using excessive force in his arrest. In that case, the prosecutors were not required to prove that racial motives played a role in the officers’ actions.

The New York Times piece is itself a journalistic travesty, treating the sham grand jury proceeding as entirely legitimate, and inferring from its verdict that Wilson’s killing of Brown was justified. It quotes the self-serving and unbelievable testimony of Wilson, but not that of any witnesses who contradicted his version of events. It qualifies the fact that witnesses said Brown had his hands up by saying that “some recanted their stories,” without noting the perjured character of the key witness who supported Wilson.

During the grand jury proceeding against Wilson, the Times played a filthy role in polluting public opinion by uncritically printing leaks from the secret grand jury proceeding that portrayed Wilson in a favorable light, including excerpts from Wilson’s own testimony.

Michael Brown’s family considers suing Darren Wilson in absence of charges. Lawyer says possibility is ‘always on the table’ after reports that officer who shot teenager won’t face federal civil rights charges: here.

No free speech for students on Martin Luther King Day in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Morristown pastor calls for free speech in Morris schools

19 January 2015

Pastor Sidney Williams Jr. of Bethel AME Church in Morristown tells an MLK Day audience that Morris schools have been insensitive to concerns of minority students.

From the Morristown Patch in New Jersey, USA:

Morris Students Censored on Ferguson Issue, Morristown Pastor Says

Clergy told crowd at Martin Luther King Day ceremony students ‘trembled,’ report says.

By Jason Koestenblatt (Patch Staff)

January 20, 2015 at 10:54am

At an event designed to highlight the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one Morristown pastor claimed students in several Morris County school districts were unable to speak about the issues in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York from 2014.

According to morristowngreen.com, Pastor Sidney Williams of Bethel AME Church in Morristown, told a group of guests at the Morristown Interfaith Breakfast Monday morning students from Parsippany, Randolph, and Morris school districts were not allowed to discuss the shooting death of Michael Brown and choking death of Eric Garner, both at the hands of police officers, with teacher[s] or while in school.

“They were told what to think and how to respond, and they trembled, and they cried, and they are afraid,” Williams said during his speech at the event, which can be seen in the video [above].

Williams led the group in prayer at the 30th annual event, the report said.

Morris School District board of education president Leonard Posey told the publication that was the first he had heard of the allegation.